How was your Christmas, dear friend? Did you attend a meaningful Christmas Eve service? Maybe you listened (and sang along!) to favorite carols or visited a living nativity in your town. Perhaps you enjoyed some time with family and read Luke’s account of the Christmas story or viewed the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Among other activities, I enjoyed making my traditional shortbread cut into the shapes of stars, angels, and a baby (gingerbread) boy to commemorate Christmas. There are so many wonderful ways to focus on Christ, and I sincerely hope your Christmas was blessed and full of rejoicing.
Christ is Christmas, the gift of our heavenly Father to an undeserving world, but that gift isn’t simply a little baby sleeping in a manger. Oh no! That’s just the beginning. Dear friends of ours set up an unusual Christmas display in their yard each year. It totally encapsulates my message. Try to imagine this:
First, there’s a rough hewn wooden manger holding some light blue fabric.
Now keep your eye on that fabric.
The fabric sweeps up from the manger to a large, equally rough hewn, cross and drapes over the heavy beams.
That’s a bittersweet image, isn’t it? But it’s also a visual reminder of God’s plan for Christ. He wasn’t just a baby to be coddled and cooed over and sung about on Christmas Eve. He started out as a little baby so he could identify with every ache and each joy in our lives, and it all led up to His ultimate purpose–to die for our sins and make reconciliation with God a possibility for each of us.
Let’s add one more image to our mental manger and cross display, and that’s an empty tomb. Isn’t that the most wonderful part of the story?! There was a resurrection! In these cold, gray days of winter, let’s ponder little hands and tiny brow, beaten body and head wreathed with thorns, and empty rock tomb. Watch the whole story of God’s plan for Christ–for us–unfold and rejoice. The Christ child baby is just the beginning!
It’s 5 hours and 45 minutes until our daughter’s flight bringing her home from college is to arrive at the airport! I have errands still to run and a to-do list at home that, in length, resembles Santa’s list of little children. I’ve been scurrying around inside like a little mouse darting from hole to hole, except that I’m going from room to room. In the laundry room, I spied a stashed Christmas gift that needed wrapping. So up to the table I went, whipping out the paper, tags, bows, and–opps!–where’s the tape?! Of course, it’s on the kitchen counter, so off I go. Once I’m in the kitchen, I see a couple dirty dishes that need to be washed. Washing them reminds me that I really could use a manicure–but there’s definitely no time for that today–so I move on drying the dishes and the take the tape to the table. I finish wrapping the package and place it under the tree. Ahhh…the tree! It’s just beautiful, an angel on top and covered in shiny ornaments and lights–LIGHTS! Seeing the lights reminds me that I have Christmas lights to hang in our daughters room! And now she’ll be here in 5 hours and 30 minutes!
What’s a mom to do? Philippians 4:6-7 has our answer: “Don’t worry over anything whatever; whenever you pray tell God every detail of your needs in thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding, will keep constant guard in your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.”
Well, before this mom does another thing, gets distracted by another to-do, or writes another blog post, she’s going to finish this post, close her laptop, turn off the music, bow her head, close her eyes, and pray. That’s a countdown to the best moment made possible by our loving Savior. Won’t you join me?
This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, just as snow began to fall. It continued all afternoon and through the evening. Now, ice and snow cover every blade of grass, every twig, and every inch of cars, houses, and street signs. Offices are closed and children received a snow day. What a change from a normal Monday!
Monday usually finds me zipping about–to the school, to the grocery, to the post office, to meet a friend here or there. I might need to pick up a certain something at the home improvement store, make a donation delivery, or toddle about tending some plants. (There’s always something to do in a garden!) None of that is happening today though.
It’s a Snow Day. It’s a Stop and Pause Day. It’s a Take Some Time Day. It’s wonderful.
Amidst the hectic pace that hastens December and the Christmas season into a sled ride down Runaway Canyon, we have been blessed with a day to stop in our tracks and pause. In the peace of this day, Psalm 46:10 comes home to me: “Be still and know that I am God.” In our busy lives, there is nothing greater than knowing that God is God, and that He loves us so much that, at just the right time, He sent Christ for our atonement and salvation.
Whether you have snow or sunny skies, make a moment to ponder Psalm 46:10. Be still and marvel at His creation. Be still and in awe of His love. Be still and know that He is God.
Just what would Jesus wear–in our day, in December, when the weather erratically rises to a 65 degree high with even higher humidity and full sun? I was in such a quandary this morning. Several items were on my day’s agenda. I was meeting with a couple of other dear moms to pray for our children in school. Then I needed to zip home, pick up our dog, Teddy, and whisk him off to the vet. After getting my family out the door, I was quickly in and out of the shower and soon wearing the items I’d put out the night before, but something was wrong. I was hot! My outfit–a turtleneck, a wool sweater, a skirt, and tights–was just too much. So off it came! Ever been there? (Please tell me you have!) I quickly pulled a blouse out of the closet, and so it began. Back and forth I went–for longer than I’d like to admit. Nothing seemed to come together except the growing pile of discarded clothes on our bed. Soon, it was time to leave the house to meet with the other moms. I chided myself that “Enough is enough!” and I was heading out the door just as I was dressed at that moment–black cords, a deep pink plaid flannel shirt, and a favorite black cable-knit cardigan accessorized with a couple of mostly-hidden moth holes. It was ok but nothing to rave about, serviceable but nothing more. And do you know what? It was totally fine. Those dear Christian friends welcomed me with open arms. As God looked on me in prayer, He saw His beloved child, robed in Christ. What a silly goose I had been this morning, fussing over something that really didn’t matter. Perhaps wearing black on a day I was to transport a white dog to the veterinarian wasn’t the best choice, but all in all it really was fine. After all, I love our dog, and his fur brushes off.
It all comes back to my perspective.
What is most important in that moment? Picking the right outfit or being on time to support, encourage, and pray with some other moms? Worrying over some dog fur on my black cords or loving and reassuring a frightened pet at the veterinarian? Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another daily,” and Proverbs 12:10 says “The righteous care for the needs of their animals.”
So, what would Jesus wear? I think He’d put something on and not give it another thought. 1 Peter 5:5 encourages us to “clothe [ourselves] with humility toward one another” and Romans 13:14 instructs us to “clothe [ourselves] with the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Humility and Christ. I can’t think of a better outfit.
Are you busy, flustered, and overwhelmed? Is your “to do” list approaching two pages? We’re in December now, and my calendar is overflowing with commitments, invitations, and opportunities. That may be my calendar, but my heart wants something else–Christ–but can Christ and my calendar coexist?
Dear friend, Yes! For believers in Christ, our daily lives and Christ are entwined. Acts 17:28 tells us that “in Him we live and move and have our being.” There is no moment that Christ is not here with us. And to top it all off, Matthew 28:20 records Christ himself as he tells us that He is “with [us] always, even to the end of the age.”
So bring on those easy days and busy days, troubles, joys, and humdrum days. Remember, whether in the most glorious morning or in the most shattering night, Christ is with us. Let’s see what a difference knowing Christ is beside us makes!
Join me in the garden, on the road, at the grocery, and at home as we journey through those days (and a few late nights) with Christ.